Colina and Univ. of Miami host successful Medical Symposium
Obese children are twice as likely to develop bad habits like smoking and drinking and are at a much greater risk of being victims of bullying, loneliness and depression, according to Dr. Maria del Pilar Solano, assistant professor of Medicine at the University of Miami.
“Sixty-five percent of the global population lives in countries where obesity kills more people than those who are underweight despite obesity being preventable,” said Solano during Colina Insurance Limited’s Medical Symposium held in conjunction with the University of Miami at the British Colonial Hilton on Wednesday evening.
“In 2008, it was estimated that there were 1.5 billion adults that were overweight and of this over 500 million were obese,” she said.
“We’re talking about nearly 200 million men in the world who are obese and nearly 300 million women who are obese.”
Co-chair of the symposium, Dr. Nestor De La Cruz-Munoz, said The Bahamas as a developing country needs to continue investing in preventative measures and treatment as a means of curbing obesity prevalence, which is still not viewed by the majority of obese people as a problem.
“You have people who are obese and very sick, who have diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome,” De La Cruz-Munoz said.
“You have others that are 500 to 600 pounds but running around without any problems and who do not think of the obesity itself as a problem, but we do know that… at least 12 different types of cancer are found more frequently with people who are obese.”
Being overweight is medically defined as a person having a body mass index (BMI) greater than 25 and obesity is defined as having a BMI greater than 30, noted Solano.
Minister of Health Dr. Hubert Minnis, who addressed the symposium, pointed out that it is important to refocus the message of healthcare in The Bahamas to emphasize prevention just as much as treatment in order to reduce non-communicable diseases, which still cause 60 percent of all deaths in the country.
“The topics for this event, [focused] on issues that the Ministry of Health is particularly concerned about, and which are being paid special attention,” Minnis said.
“Obesity, diabetes, hypertension and cancer are among the chronic diseases that present the greatest public health burden, either in terms of direct cost to society and the government, or in terms of disability, adjusted life years.
“Developing countries like The Bahamas are increasingly suffering from high levels of public health problems related to chronic diseases.”
Colina Insurance Limited hosted the medical symposium in collaboration with the International Medicine Institute (IMI) of the University of Miami (UM).
This symposium brought to The Bahamas the university teaching hospital’s leading experts on diabetes, obesity, bariatric surgery and prostate cancer to discuss and shed light on the global implications of screening and diagnosing these conditions, as well as available modern treatment and preventive methods.
The symposium also marked Colina’s first joint venture with the university since it announced in May that it had signed a knowledge and technology transfer agreement with IMI to provide Bahamian physicians, nurses and group health plan administrators access to the medical and administrative resources and facilities available at IMI through funding by Colina.
Key to Colina’s agreement with the university is the collaboration via exchange of knowledge and technologies between IMI and local physicians.
In addition to access to the seminar, under the terms of this agreement, affiliated physicians will have an opportunity to travel to the South Florida medical campus of the Miller School of Medicine of the University of Miami for an interactive and dynamic learning experience observing the advanced application of specialty-specific procedures and techniques in close collaboration with a UM attending physician.
The agreement also includes program certification, physician access to Continuing Medical Education (CME) conferences and research collaborations. Administrators similarly benefit from exchange visits and support staff training.
The agreement with Colina is IMI’s first in The Bahamas and the region.
It has similar arrangements in South America. Practitioners and health plan administrators who participate in the programs gain advanced knowledge in their specialty and are available to transfer knowledge to their local cohorts, thus elevating the overall national administrative and medical practice standard.
“As an insurance company, Colina is committed to furthering education about the pervasive lifestyle diseases and the accompanying health economic issues affecting our country,” said Colina’s Executive Vice Chairman Emanuel M. Alexiou.